Field Hockey Loses to End Fine Season
By Blake Wilder

The Oberlin College field hockey team closed an otherwise successful season on a down note last Saturday with a 4-0 loss to Wittenberg.
“Some players on the team are still upset about the loss, that we weren’t able to score goals, and I am as well. But you have to re-evaluate what we’ve accomplished and how many things we did well on the field and how much fun we had along the way,” head coach Deb Ranieri said. “This is by far the best season I’ve ever had as a coach in regards to having a great time in going out to practice every day. We worked hard and we had fun doing it.”
The Yeowomen were plenty pumped coming off a four-game winning streak and it showed in the early minutes of the game.
“The first 10 minutes of the first half were really good, and then we kind of fell apart. The girls really did what we practiced in the first ten minutes,” Ranieri said. “And that’s when Wittenberg scored, and then it was kind of like ‘here we go.’”
From that point on, Wittenberg began to dominate, racking up eight penalty corners and two goals while Oberlin never got into the attacking third of the field.
“That’s what made the team frustrated and put in a little bit of ‘maybe we can’t do it,’” Ranieri said.
The Yeowomen played well defensively, holding the opposition to only two goals in the first half even though they had many more opportunities.
“We did kind of regroup at halftime and came out and played a much better second half,” Ranieri said.
In the first 10 minutes, Oberlin went straight for the attacking third and won two penalty corners.
“We played more aggressively in the second half. We did more of what we had talked about in the huddle and in practice the day before,” Ranieri said. “We obviously created opportunities in which we could score then, but we were unable to score.”
Unfortunately, Wittenberg did capitalize as they scored again, and then in a bizarre turn junior Jaime Johnson got yellow carded for objecting to a bad call made by the referee.
“From what I understand, Jaime did the right thing, and she got carded for something that I don’t think anybody else would have carded her for,” Ranieri said. “She’s not an obnoxious player. She’s not someone who harasses the officials. I think the girls rallied in response to that. I’m sure [the other players] were pissed off and they were disappointed that Jaime wasn’t out there, but they took into a positive thing. They rose for Jaime.”
The oddities did not stop there. Assistant coach Frank Rosen asked to have the call explained and was then thrown out of the stadium.
“Frank was just trying to understand why the ref made the call, so he gave Frank a yellow card, but he didn’t say who he was giving the card to. He just kind of threw it at both of us cause we were standing there,” Ranieri said. “Then he immediately flashed a red card. Power trip.”
While Johnson was out, Wittenberg scored their fourth and final goal of the game. The Yeowomen responded with attacking pressure in the final minutes of the game winning two more penalty corners, but it wasn’t enough as Wittenberg held on for the win.
“They didn’t play up to their potential the last time they played us. I got the impression that when we played them the last time they didn’t respect us as a team,” Ranieri said. “They came much more prepared for this game. They were definitely the better team on that day”
It was an unfortunate end to an impressive season. In her first year as coach, Ranieri took a small team and got them working together so that they could do what they needed to do.
“[Ranieri] basically got us to the point where we could win, and I don’t think the first-years can see that. They didn’t know what it was like before,” senior Chaney Stewman said. “She’s the best coach I ever had.”
The Yeowomen were also aided by a small but talented senior class. Stewman and Nan Uemura contributed to the team’s offense. Christina Congleton anchored the defense while Briana Quinn contributed to the defense and added a strong link to the team’s passing game from her place in the midfield.
“The seniors did a really great job of taking a young team and being patient with them and helping them along,” Ranieri said. “In the beginning of the season there was concern about us having the worst season and them not really getting what they wanted. When all was said and done, they got more out of this season than they’ve ever experienced here.”
The team will lose the skill of these seniors as they graduate, but Ranieri has laid the groundwork for a solid team next season.
“Everybody on the team knows what the expectations are and how I coach. And they understand the program, so the second year is always easier,” she said. “They’re going to be great teachers and coaches in addition to just players on the field. It should be smoother right from the beginning.”

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